Mater Dei Academy provides a comprehensive six-year programme in the classical tradition, culminating in the Irish Leaving Certificate examination. Our four year junior cycle provides a provides a comprehensive and systematic introduction to liberal education in the classical tradition.
The Theology programme at Mater Dei Academy is based on a combination of Sacred Scripture and doctrinal formation. Scripture is the soul of theology. Through encounter with Sacred Scripture, both in the liturgy and in studies, the student encounters the Living God. Ultimately, the Bible transmits the Word of God that saves. Study of the Bible also furnishes the student with an awareness of the development of culture in Western Civilisation and so helps the student to understand their own cultural milieu. Through encounter with the variety of biblical characters; from the Patriarchs to the Prophets; the students enter into a world where the revelation of God's loving plan of salvation unfolds before our eyes. It is in this plan that each student finds their own place and through their studies, a deeper understanding of their own dignity and unique place in God's creation.
Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam,' a dúirt an Phiarsach agus tá an ráiteas chomh fíor inniu is a bhí sé inné. Tá fréamhacha doimhne na Gaeilge fite fuaite le hoidhreacht agus cultúr Críostaí na hÉireann. Cuireann fiú na beannachtaí is simplí ar nós ‘Dia duit’ agus ‘Dia linn’ béim ar thionchar urghnách na Críostaíochta ar an nGaeilge agus ar thionchar dochreidte na Gaeilge ar fhoirmiú chreideamh mhuintir na hÉireann ar feadh na gcéadta bliain. Murab ionann agus a macasamhla Béarla, tá áilleacht, ceol agus ord uile a fhréamhacha Laidine sa Ghaeilge. Is í an Ghaeilge croí dosheachanta ár gcultúir, ár n-oidhreachta, ár staire agus ár náisiúin. Is mór an fhreagracht í a labhairt chomh cruinn agus is féidir. Ba mhór an cúnamh é chun líofacht a chothú an Ghaeilge a bheith mar theanga chaidrimh san Acadamh go coitianta. Mar a
deirtear, 'Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste'
The nineteenth century Anglican Archbishop of Dublin and poet, Richard Trench, remarked that ‘grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.’ It is inconceivable to embark on a programme of reading the great books and stories of Western Civilisation without the tools for the journey. This year’s programme, not only provides the student with a solid basis for the subsequent years, but also provides the cornerstone on this all other narrative subjects, writings and discussions are founded. In literature, students encounter the great heroes and characters of the past as real-life personalities whose challenges and travails mirror those of our present time in more ways than we can possibly imagine. Ancient literature forms the foundation for Western literary and intellectual tradition that continues to our own day; it provides much of the essential framework for making sense of people, events, and movements throughout the following centuries.
The Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei claimed that “mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.” The fundamental beauty, order and reasonableness of mathematical deduction is not simply critical for advanced mathematical and scientific understanding, but plays a foundational part in logical thought and deduction outside of the field of mathematics. As well as framing and forming the mind in logical deduction and reasoning, mathematics is the language which allows the student to deepen their understanding of the physical and chemical sciences in subsequent years. Ultimately, it is the goal of the mathematics programme to lead the student to a love of mathematics as a reflection of the order and perfection found in the Creator.
Music is known to develop both sides of the brain (“Music and the Brain” Norman M. Weinberger, Neurobiologist). Studying songs and works and learning composition develops skills in critical thinking and analysis. Choir performance, on the other hand, encourages teamwork and inspires confidence. Instrument playing or solo singing encourages self-discipline. Practice is strongly encouraged. St. Augustine said, “to sing is to pray twice”. Music is a way to express ourselves. A subject which is a large part of everyone’s life, increasing knowledge of Music will address the varying experiences of different students entering second level education, bringing them together to create something beautiful.
Physical Education and Activities
‘Ihave fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’. The relationship between the body, the mind and the soul are inextricably linked in Christian formation and theology. At Mater Dei Academy, we place strong emphasis on a healthy body, mind and soul. Physical education and activities are always aimed to be inclusive and fun. Activities are aimed at fostering the moral characteristics and virtues which make the Christian growth of the soul analogous to the athletic growth and development of the body. A strong emphasis on team-based and collaborative activities underlines the importance of these values in wider society and in the growth of the body, mind and soul.
The more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, and with that there presses upon them the urgent desire to find out the meaning of reality and of our existence.’ Our experience of the world awakens in us ‘the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?... In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives.’ (St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio). The first year of Philosophy invites students to join the millennia long tradition in the search for truth. Students are invited to enter into this search, to learn not simply about philosophy but how to do it. They learn by asking these fundamental questions
Modern society is shaped and formed by many of the events and systems which emerged in the Ancient World. Even today, the Ancient World influences our customs, laws, and forms of government in innumerable ways. It shapes the form and function of the buildings we live in, the writing we use to communicate on a day-to-day basis and the governments and institutions of western society. These civilisations and the questions they confronted remain as relevant today and teach us a great deal about our own culture. In the Irish context, an understanding of our Celtic and pagan forefathers provides a unique insight into the world and civilisation into which St. Patrick brought the Christian faith. Ancient history not only provides insight into human nature, but also provides a proper context for the most important event in history, the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Latin is the language of Western civilization and of Our Holy Mother, the Church, and so many pivotal writings -- philosophical, theological, literary, and scientific -- were originally composed in Latin. Translations of these works exist of course, but even the most exquisite translations are unable to encapsulate the original in its entirety. Our goal then is not to produce translators, but readers of Latin who love the language. We want our students to understand the text on its own and to appreciate the truth, beauty, and goodness of Latin in its native form.
The study of physical earth science, geography, geology and astronomy and its resulting discoveries have not only played a pivotal role in the realms of human thought and culture, but have also single-handedly paved the way for the modern physical sciences. Understanding the created world and the cosmos around them provide us with the unique context for the study of all the sciences, as well as an appreciation for our place within the infinite goodness of God’s plan for creation. With a foundational understanding of the physical earth and space around us, students are not only prepared for further study in biology, chemistry and physics, but are better equipped to perceive and internalise this order in their own experience of the God’s creation.
Culture and Art are aspects of our society that have relevance and importance that may often get overlooked. The goal of the art programme at Mater Dei Academy is to introduce the students to not only the history and ideas behind great art but more importantly the practical knowledge and craft of how art is produced and understood. For centuries our faith was taught by using examples of art by producing pictures which illustrated salvation history and eternal truths. As time went on the craft became perfected and was utilized very effectively by the Church for teaching purposes. It also stood as a reminder to us of all the beauty that surrounds us and of the Creator whose work all art echoes . Hence art needs to be cultivated and appreciated. This will be the ultimate purpose of this program, to give the students the tools to confidently create art, and to develop their appreciation, knowledge, enjoyment and sense of taste in the arts.